Other papers

Members of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre (RPRC) have produced a variety of papers, including journal articles and book chapters.

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RPRC PPI Summit: 2019 Retirement Income Policy Review and You

  • 2019 Summit Pack Final contains an outline of the Summit purpose, the Summit Programme, short bios of the presenters, the Terms of Reference for the 2019 Review of Retirement Income Policies, and links to relevant resources.
  • Session 1 Looking back to go forward is the Welcome and Introduction to the Review by Susan St John (RPRC), a discussion by Michael Littlewood of his experience as a member of the 1992 Todd Task Force and the events up to the 1997 Referendum, and Diana Crossan presents the retirement income framework from 2003 to 2013, while she was the Retirement Commissioner.
  • Session 2 Ageing population fiscal and health implications begins with Matthew Bell (NZ Treasury) presenting some long term projections and scenarios under an ageing population, then Ngaire Kerse, the Joyce Cook Chair in Ageing Well, discusses how the realities of an ageing population inform the projections. Judith Davey (IGPS) discusses the retirement income eco-system.
  • Session 3 International overview begins with RPRC Associate and supporter, David Harris (UK) discussing the state of pension play in the UK and Ireland. Nick Sherry (former Superannuation Minister, Australia) then offers a comparison between the Australian and New Zealand retirement systems, and Calvert Duffy (Australia) provides a short overview of the Hayne Royal Commission findings. Back home and Scott McMurray (FMA) brings the New Zealand conduct and culture review findings into focus.
  • Session 4 Equity and distribution begins with a discussion around intergenerational and gender equity by Claire Dale (RPRC) and some solutions being adopted internationally. Peter Cordtz (CFFC) focuses on low income populations and retirement issues, and Alex McKenzie (MSD) suggests some emerging trends among older New Zealanders.
  • Session 5 Ageing Working and Kiwisaver begins with Troy Churton (CFFC) speaking on ageing workers, workplace participation and KiwiSaver, then John Cliffe (AFA) takes a closer look at KiwiSaver, particularly default funds and the regulatory environment. Richard Klipin (FSC) discusses financial service advice, with a close focus on online advice. Susan St John (RPRC) closes the session with a look at the possibilities of and support for safe decumulation.
  • Session 6 Aspirations and Overview is a short summary of the speech by the Hon Kris Faafoi, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, stating his hopes and aspirations for ensuring lifelong wellbeing for all New Zealanders. Len Cook, former NZ Statistician and Families Commissioner, offers an overview of and his reflections on, the RPRC & PPI Summit: The 2019 Retirement Incomes Policy Review, and You.


Policy Discussion Paper 2018-1, Improving the affordability of New Zealand Superannuation: New Zealand Superannuation as a Universal Basic income, Susan St John

Under existing policy settings, the costs of retirement income, health, and welfare for the rapidly growing older population lift markedly over the next decades both in absolute terms and relative to other state spending. In this context there is much debate about ‘affordability’ of New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) in the longer term. If there is a reluctance to tax or borrow for the growing cost, then the ‘affordability’ of NZS may be improved by tweaking one or more of three main levers:  the qualifying age, the level of the payment, and the degree of targeting.

At the Financial Services Council’s Shaping Futures National Conference, 6 September 2018, Susan St John delivered RPRC’s contribution to the Decumulation Panel.

The beginning premise is that a serious hole in New Zealand’s otherwise very good retirement income policies is the lack of a simple, secure, income insurance for middle income retirees over and above the base annuity, NZ Super.


External Evaluation 2016: A pathway toward financial inclusion and improved wellbeing, M Claire Dale, Erwann Sbai

The aims of the research are to evaluate the impact of Ngā Tangata Microfinance (NTM) no-interest asset-building (NILS®) and debt relief (DRLS) loans on clients and communities, and to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of NTM processes, for the purpose of increasing the impact of the loans, and improving the loan processes.

View the ebook.

Summit Proceedings 2017

This Summit was presented by Child Poverty Action Group, the University of Auckland’s Retirement Policy and Research Centre and the Centre for Applied Research in Economics. Summit proceedings compiled and edited by M Claire Dale.


New Zealand’s KiwiSaver Lessons for Ireland, Susan St John

This report describes aspects of KiwiSaver that may be of interest to Ireland as it investigates its own opt-out savings scheme.

New Zealand Superannuation policy and overseas state pensions, M Claire Dale and Susan St John

This report focusses primarily on the context of the DDP and its relationship to residence, describes how it is applied, and sets out reform options for discussion. A public policy framework is used to assess these options as a contribution to the Retirement Commissioner’s 2016 Review of Retirement Income Policies.  

Ngā Tāngata Microfinance Evaluation 2016, M Claire Dale

The aims of the research, funded by a grant from the J R McKenzie Trust, are to evaluate the impact of NTM no-interest loans on clients and communities, and to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of NTM processes.

New Zealand’s Kiwi Saver Lessons for Ireland, Susan St John

Paper presented to Insurance Ireland summit New Zealand’s Kiwi Saver Lessons for Ireland 13 September 2016, Dublin, Ireland.

Summit proceedings: This Summit was proudly supported by Child Poverty Action Group, and the University of Auckland’s Centre for Applied Research in Economics and Retirement Policy and Research Centre. Summit proceedings compiled and edited by M. Claire Dale.


Let's talk about how money works. In 2008, New Zealand was one of the first countries in the OECD to adopt a national strategy for financial literacy. The strategy was revised in 2014 after wide consultation and became the National Strategy for Financial Capability, supported by over 100 organisations. UK Financial Times, Financial Advisor, M. Claire Dale (3 December 2015).

Summit proceedings: This Summit was proudly supported by Child Poverty Action Group, and the University of Auckland’s Centre for Applied Research in Economics, Retirement Policy and Research Centre, and Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health. Summit proceedings compiled and edited by M. Claire Dale.


Critical policy perspectives on the law regarding benefits and pensions, in Elder Law in New Zealand. The chapter is on critical policy perspectives on the law regarding age pensions and benefits. Each part of the book explores different facets of elder law including New Zealand’s “ageing in place” policy; entitlements to services from district health boards; retirement villages and rest homes; relationship property issues; and legal issues and rights. Susan St John and M.Claire Dale. Published by Thomson Reuters (2014)

What Has New Zealand's Retirement Policy Framework to Offer the International Debate. New Zealanders don’t realise that they are regularly regarded in other countries as world leaders, not just in sport. In social policy too we have often been ahead of world thinking. One very under-trumpeted innovation is our retirement incomes policy, which, with ACC, is unique on the world stage. Susan St John. Policy Quarterly, v10:3, August 2014

Recalibrating New Zealand, in The Piketty Phenomenon: New Zealand Perspectives, a BWB text, containing responses from many of New Zealand’s economists and commentators to Thomas Piketty’s text: Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  Susan St John (2014).

Ageing populations, retirement incomes and public policy: what really matters in Hong Kong Must Stand Up. Only governments can reliably eliminate poverty in old age, level the tax and regulatory playing fields for financial service providers/savers and gather impeccable, deep data. They can also help citizens to understand the things that really matter to individual saving decisions. Michael Littlewood (2014).

Forum Proceedings: Retirement Incomes Policy: the future is now. The forum, hosted by the RPRC and the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Incomes (CFLRI), brought together international and national retirement industry experts, academics and practitioners for analysis of recent retirement income policy recommendations proposed by stakeholders and interest groups. (17 April 2014).


Forum Proceedings: Does the UK’s reform of pensions have lessons for New Zealand? After fifteen years of intense retirement income policy debate, consultation and legislation, the UK's pension system will become surprisingly like New Zealand's with a single tier of public pension and auto-enrolment into private pensions. (23 September 2013)

Book Review: Reforming Pensions for Civil and Military Servants The book summarises an international seminar held in January 2011 where academic experts discussed the arrangements for public sector employees’ pensions in a range of countries. Critically, in most countries, there has been a tradition of favoured treatment for pensions for civil servants. Susan St John. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance Vol 12, Issue 4, 2013.

Article: Wage-Earners' Welfare after Economic Reform: Refurbishing, Retrenching or Hollowing Out Social Protection in Australia and New Zealand? Australia and New Zealand developed distinctive 'wage-earner welfare states', with social protection largely delivered through high bread-winner basic incomes and residual social policies. Market reforms then pursued in both countries during the 1980s and 1990s retrenched important elements of the Antipodean model. S. Wilson, B. Spies‐Butcher, A. Stebbing, S. St John. Journal of Social Policy & Administration, 2013.

Forum proceedings: Overseas Pensions: Justice Delayed? The RPRC hosted this forum at the Auckland Business School in association with the Human Rights Commission and Victoria University’s School of Accounting and Commercial Law. The Forum brought together academics, Ministry of Social Development (MSD) officials, politicians and pensioners, to examine the treatment of retirees in New Zealand who have state-administered overseas pensions. (6 June 2013)





  • The New Zealand experience of child-based work incentives
    St John, S., & Dale, M.C.
    European Journal of Social Security 12(3), 216 - 241. [This article draws on and updates St John (2006) Child poverty: lessons from New Zealand, European Journal of Social Security 8(3), 299 - 316.]
  • Pre-funding a government's future financial obligations – the New Zealand Superannuation case study
    Littlewood, M.
    New Zealand Economic Papers, 44(1), 91-111.
  • Aging of the elderly: An intragenerational funding approach to long-term care
    St John, S., & Chen, Y.P.
    European Papers on the New Welfare, 15 October 2011.